The Hawaiian Supreme Court in July 2013 ruled in favor of Jasmine Rose Anne Fry’s family in their suit against the Ala Moana Center, which the family alleged was responsible for Fry’s death. The court held that the Center violated its duty of care for Fry after she trespassed on the Center’s roof and got stuck in an exhaust duct. Fry’s death, and that of her unborn child, was due to hyperthermia caused by her entrapment in a stove duct used by the mall’s food court. The case next returns to Hawaii’s Circuit Court for further proceedings in the wrongful death suit.
Elements of a “wrongful death” suit
Hawaii law defines a wrongful death as the death of a person which is caused by a wrongful act, omission, or neglect of another person. Following the death of the victim, his or her legal representative, or any of the following people may bring suit, in order to recover compensation for the wrongful death:
Dependent: any person wholly or partially dependent on the victim for financial or other support
It is important to note that regardless of whether a family member, dependent, or legal representative brings suit, he or she will do so on behalf of the entire group of surviving family members and legal representatives.
Recoverable damages in a wrongful death suit
The wrongful death action exists so as to provide fair and just compensation to the victim’s survivors and dependents. Recoverable damages include pecuniary injury—such as lost wages—as well as loss of love and companionship.